Design is certainly an important aspect of web development, but if the design is the primary focus, the end result can be pretty pages that don’t provide much value.
In B2B marketing particularly, “informative” does not mean multiple pages explaining just how wonderful your products and services are. It means providing information that’s going to help your customers and prospects achieve an objective or solve a problem, regardless of whether or not they buy anything from you. That builds trust, which is the ultimate goal of B2B marketing – establish enough trust so that the prospect or customer feels safe in discussing certain objectives or problems face-to-face with your company representative.
Responsive websites provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling – on a wide range of devices, from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones. It’s becoming increasingly important as more and more people access the Internet through their mobile phones. In fact, Google has begun to boost the ratings of websites that are mobile friendly if the search was made from a mobile device, which in effect penalizes websites that do not incorporate responsive design.
Most business-to-business websites do a reasonable job of describing the products or services the company offers. But many fail to immediately establish the exact nature of their business, and it can be difficult to determine the types and sizes of businesses they serve or the geographic areas they sell into. Your website visitors are often trying to make a quick decision about whether or not your company is a good fit for them, so make sure you spell that out right up front.
Your website is probably not the only one your prospects will be viewing. Prospects are trying to make a good decision about which company to hire, so help them to conclude that your company is the best choice.
B2B industries tend to be organized in relatively small verticals. People in those industries look to the experiences of others in helping them make decisions, so it’s a good idea to include testimonials from contented clients as proof that your claims are accurate.
One of the main goals of your website should to encourage prospects to raise their hands and indicate they’re interested in what you’re offering. The best way to do that is to provide a reason for them to identify themselves. That usually means trading information of value in return for the prospect’s contact information. It’s a good idea to use multiple information offers – each corresponding to different stages in the prospect buying cycle. For example, white papers or video links might be suitable for prospects just beginning the discovery process. For those prospects who are well along in the buying process, seminars, demos and on-site evaluations may be appropriate.
Once you’ve determined your content, think about how that content should be organized on your website. The goal here is to place as few clicks as possible between your visitors and the information they are seeking. Make sure viewers can easily get back to your home page at any time, and provide access to the menu on every page.
The enemy of communication is distraction. You might think prospects don’t remember your sales messages but it’s more likely they didn’t learn them in the first place. Make it easy on them by employing a minimalist approach to design and layout. The more you can reduce the number of elements on a page, the more likely it is that the remaining information will be absorbed by the viewer.
Make it easy for your prospects to get in touch with you. List several ways to contact you – phone numbers, email addresses, links to request forms and so on – on every page. Don’t restrict that information to the “contact us” page.